I have been granted the distinguished honor of announcing that UDFA OLB Jamir Jones has been voted the 2021 Isaac Redman Award winner after his breakout training camp and preseason performance.
I want to thank BTSC's very own Andrew Wilbar for his article earlier this week laying out the parameters for eligibility, listing the 4 nominees, and providing the poll were the community could vote for who they felt was most deserving. Also for tagging my article from the early portion of training camp in which I chose Jamir Jones as my pick for potential breakout performer for the Steelers defense. Thanks to the BTSC community for voting and making your voices heard.
Jamir Jones won the poll easily with around 70% of the vote, over runner up Pressley Harvin lll, the rookie seventh round punter who has an enthusiastic fanbase that have bestowed on him a plethora of nicknames. Jones hasn't been given a nickname from the Steelers fanbase that has stuck, as far as I am aware. I propose Predator as a fun moniker for the talented young pass rusher, as he resembles the otherworldly warrior from the movie franchise of the same name.
The Redman Award winner represents the most unexpected and inspirational performance throughout the camp and preseason process. The type of player who has overcome all obstacles to exceed all expectations. That description fits Jamir Jones to a tee.
After going undrafted in 2020, he signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent, but was never given a real opportunity to make an impression with the team, partly because of pandemic protocols. Jones was disappointed but not defeated, still determined to work toward his NFL dreams.
That hard work and determination paid off in a big way after he managed to catch Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert's attention by taking part in Notre Dame's 2021 Pro Day. All he needed was an opportunity, and the Steelers offered him just that. He has definitely made the most of said opportunity. The rest is, as they say, history. Now he has earned a prestigious award to go with his roster spot.
Jones turned heads through the early portion of training camp because of his consistent motor and hustle. He regularly won his one on one confrontations during drills and scrimmages. Then he continued his camp success into the preseason games. Four total preseason games, four QB sacks. He also lead the NFL during the preseason with 6 QB hits and total QB pressures with 13 (combining sacks, hits, and hurries). He also lead the Steelers with 6 special teams tackles. He simply went out, played to the best of his abilities, and proved too good to be released.
Although Jones is an inspirational underdog story based on his long and winding road to the NFL, the young man definitely possesses the talent and requisite athleticism needed to play at the professional level. Couple that with his work ethic, football IQ, and team first mentality; and the Steelers may have just uncovered their latest diamond in the rough.
Jones has earned a roster spot with not only the most successful franchise in NFL history, but one with a rich history of legendary defensive stalwarts.
Hopefully Jones will be the next in line, and go on to make a similar impact to former Redman Award winner Mike Hilton. Who knows, maybe even more. I sure wouldn't put it past him. The young man has already shown a tendency to exceed expectations.